Alibaba recently blocked WeChat’s access to two of its e-commerce apps. Users who click on links to products and shops on Taobao and Tmall through WeChat, Tencent’s popular messaging app, will be directed to the download page for the Alibaba apps. They are unable to browse or make purchases.
Returning fire, Tencent’s app store removed the app for Alibaba’s payment service, Alipay, from its rankings.
The battle between Alibaba and Tencent has heated up since August, when the former blocked some visits directed from WeChat. WeChat has also blocked traffic from Alibaba’s messaging app, Laiwang.
Zhang Yu, president of the consumer-to-consumer site Taobao.com, said Alibaba’s move is aimed at better protecting user privacy, as many users complained about clicking on fake links on WeChat and were worried about losing their personal information.
Zhang also said the move would not affect Taobao store owners much. “In fact, many vendors don’t use WeChat as their main marketing platform,” she said. Further, WeChat has been only a minor driver of traffic, Zhang added.
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